PEOPLE’S Alliance for Change president Andyford Banda says the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) will not be able to attain the nine million voters target at the current pace of registration.
In an interview, Banda insisted that it would make more sense for ECZ to clean up the old register.
“I think most citizens were discouraged after they saw that there were lot of queues and it’s taking time to register a voter. And you know people don’t like to stand in queues, the process was flawed, it was slow, a lot of people obviously were going to be discouraged at the pace and registering 1.1 million for registration that is supposed to take four weeks and half, it means that we can’t attain the target that we have set of registering nine million voters. That’s why we as PAC and other stakeholders have called on ECZ to maintain the 2016 voter register so that it can just be cleaned up and then the new voters can do the registration. However, I also saw that they have employed additional staff of 832 we are yet to see whether that is going to have an impact as we finish week two of voter registration,” he said
He however urged the Commission to extend the registration period as all eligible voters must be registered without fail.
“Regardless of the case we would like to advise the ECZ that first of all, we told them that one month voter registration was not adequate meaning that for us to be able to attain the nine million voters, this exercise has to go for about two months. Secondly, they need to ensure that they get ready to extend this exercise if they don’t manage to reach the target by the stipulated period and all eligible citizens of this country must be registered as voters without fail,” said Banda.
On Tuesday, Vice-President Inonge Wina announced that the Electoral Commission of Zambia had registered approximately 1.1 million in the first week of the exercise.
“I do acknowledge that that challenges were faced in the first phase, the first week of the voter registration process but the situation has improved and continues to improve. Mr Speaker, a number of officers have been recruited to beef up the numbers, an additional 832 assistant registration officers and field workers have been recruited and some are still undergoing training and these will be deployed as follows. Those centres that are open 24 hours, additional officers will be sent there and staff shifts to high traffic centres across will have additional officers. Additional kits will be sent to the other populated centres. And 400 uniformed police officers have been engaged to participate in the process. So Mr Speaker, Voter registration is different from NRC issuance. Of course there was mobile issuance of NRCs but the issuance goes on throughout the year and the people can go to district offices and access the NRCs,” said Vice-President.
“Mr Speaker, in the first phase, the ECZ had expected to capture a bit more but in the first phase, the commission has registered approximately 1,106,000 people across the country and this is an aggregate of all the 10 provinces of Zambia. The commission will provide disaggregated data at the end of the registration exercise and the current system allows for citizens as I said earlier to register from any registration centre across the country.”